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The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

The Distant Hours (2010)

by Kate Morton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (128)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  French (1)  All languages (140)
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A letter written decades ago but only just delivered starts Edie on a quest to unravel a mystery that has her digging into her mother’s long-buried past. She discovers that her mother was a refugee child during the war and resided at a castle with three young women and their reclusive writer father. A tragedy mars their past, and now the three spinster sisters have become secretive and withdrawn. Edie is determined to uncover the truth, but without causing further grief to her mother or to the sisters. A well written and descriptive novel, it won’t be long before you find yourself as deeply invested in the mystery as Edie is and just as eager to know the truth. A fascinating tale with complex characters in an intriguing plot – all the elements for a great story. ( )
  Maydacat | Jan 1, 2015 |
This is a classic Gothic Novel complete with a castle, a mystery and a clueless heroine - at least that is my description of a gothic novel!

Edie and her Mom, Meredith, have a tangled relationship. There are sections of Meredith's past life she refuses to share with Edie - and the strains of that taint everything. Then a letter arrives 50 years late, a letter from the end of WWII. It deeply affects Meredith - but she again refuses to let anyone in to that part of her life.

Edie, a co-publisher for a small literary company, finds herself lost in the edges of the English countryside and Milderhurst castle looms. Seeing the castle stirs an ancient memory of standing at the gates with her mother. But how could that be? When Edie asks her mum - she denies it.

That starts Edie on the quest to figure out what in the world is in her mom's past that so effects her. It seems to stem from Milderhurst castle and the old tale of the Mudman. On a historical tour she meets the three spinster sisters who inhabit the castle and is mistaken as her mother by one of the sisters.

And it is then that Morton begins the second tale of this book - one that slowly unravels the history of the sisters and the young girl, Meredith who they took care of during the Blitz. The reader finds out the secrets behind the withered women and their endless hold on the crumbling castle.

I really enjoyed this book. I love English novels and the depth of history woven into the stories. I also love the restraint of the characters - their hidden agendas and their commitment to peace and propriety. There is something refreshing, puzzling and foreign about that attitude. ( )
  kebets | Nov 1, 2014 |
I gave this book more than a 200 page chance and for the life of me could not get into it. The writing seemed very choppy, alternating between the past and present day. Also, I couldn't get invested in the characters; they were very uninteresting, lacked character development and in over 200 pages still couldn't understand where and what the story was leading. Disappointing, as I enjoyed some of her previous titles. ( )
  patrish | Jul 9, 2014 |
I am very glad I was listening to the audio version of this book----I was hesitant by the idea that there were 18 disks! (fortunately, I had a major project to work on that needed listening material)---- but I loved Caroline Lee's voice enough to keep going. This is quite a story and the descriptions put me right there, watching. Although it's a lengthy tale, it flows well and I was totally involved in wondering who did what, where, when and why. I do agree with a previous reviewer mentioning the amount of cigarette smoking---part of it was a sign of the times during the war but it does get exhausting, no matter what decade it's in. ( )
  nyiper | May 3, 2014 |
This is the forth book by Kate Morton I have read and this one was a bit tedious. I did not care for the characters as I had in the previous three books. Something so irksome reading page after page of a tiresome characters thoughts and smoking cigarettes. The story itself seemed forced and highly improbable. Which ruins a good read for me. I could not piece together why the two lovers did not travel to the castle together? Of course there would have been little story if that had happened. I truly enjoyed finding the little jewels hidden among the laborious prose. ( )
  Alphawoman | Apr 4, 2014 |
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Milderhurst Castle is as enchanting to the reader as it is to Edie and her mother but the cast is rarely quite as absorbing because Meredith, Juniper and Thomas are sketchily drawn.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Mortonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ayers, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elisabet W. MiddelthonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kwan, LaywanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, CarolineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Möllemann, NorbertÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Middelthon, Elisabet W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snoijink, BobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Hush. . . Can you hear him?
The Trees can.  They are the first to know that he is coming.
Listen! The trees of the deep, dark wood, shivering and jittering their leaves like papery hulls of beaten silver; the sly wind, snaking through their tops, whispering that soon it will begin.
The trees know, for they are old and they have seen it all before.
- "The True History of the Mud Man, Chapter 1"
For Kim Wilkins,

who encouraged me to start;


Davin Patterson,

who was with me to the last full stop
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Hush ... can you hear him?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Edie Burchill, an only child of respectable if dull parents, suddenly finds her life upside down when she receives a letter that should have been delivered fifty years earlier. This letter will send her on a journey into the past and the secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst. Edie and her mother have never been close, but when the long lost letter arrives with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret. Evacuated from London as a thirteen year old girl, Edie's mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family. Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Milderhurst and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiance in 1941 plunged her into madness. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother's past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it...
Haiku summary
Edie discovers
Buried family secrets,
Mysteries galore.

No descriptions found.

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A long-lost letter arriving at its destination fifty years after it was sent lures Edie Burchill to crumbling Milderhurst Castle, home of the three elderly Blythe sisters, where Edie's mother was sent to stay as a teenager during World War II.

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